A federal agency will investigate the origin of the live mine found Monday at a Rapid City business.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will "track it back as far as we can," said spokeswoman Ashlee Sherrill.
Sherrill said it's likely that the mine — a live M18A1 Claymore mine — was originally sold at an estate sale, and the agency wants to make sure there is no one else who has a mine from the same source. Authorities believe it to be a Korean War-era land mine found with other military memorabilia items recently bought at an auction, Lt. Jim Bussell, spokesman for the Rapid City Fire Department, said Monday.
Criminal charges are unlikely if the mine came from an estate sale since it means the original owner is dead, Sherrill said. She said criminal charges are "completely situational" in cases like this depending on whether a mine was unknowingly sold or sold with bad intentions.
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Live Claymore mines won't explode simply by being handled and the one found in Rapid City was not attached to a detonator, Sherrill said. They are activated with a handhold devise attached to a cord or could be detonated with some other kind of igniter.
Claymore mines are anti-personnel land mines that were developed in the late 1950s and are still retained by the U.S. military, according to the New York Times.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Ellsworth Air Force Base responded to the land mine at a business on the 3100 block of West St. Louis Street around 1:20 p.m. on Monday. About 12 homes, one apartment building and a few businesses in the area were evacuated. At 3:15 p.m., the fire department announced the device had been removed by the EOD team, and all evacuations were lifted.
The mine was transported to the Rapid City landfill via police escort, said 2nd Lt. Daniel Rosenfield, a spokesman with the Air Force base. It was then safely detonated, cleaned and disposed of at the landfill.